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Economy, Tightening Budgets Drive Interest in Storage-as-a-Service

December 17, 2008 - As businesses large and small manage through an uncertain economy with tightening IT budgets, many are looking to on-demand technology solutions, like software (SaaS) and storage-as-a-service (STaaS,) as a way to cut costs.  As an industry-leading provider of SaaS for backup and archiving, Iron Mountain Digital, the technology arm of Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE: IRM), offers a checklist of important considerations when choosing a SaaS provider.

According to IDC’s Worldwide Storage-as-a-Service Market size and forecast, 2005-2012 multiclient study (1), IDC “projected the amount of information created, captured and replicated would increase six fold by 2010 reaching a total of 988 exabytes worldwide.

With this continued data growth, the challenge of managing this data also increases. The drivers for adoption of different SaaS offerings are on the first order cost savings and on the second order the ability to outsource IT tasks to a third party either due to limited IT resources or the ability to use them for other, more strategic purposes.”

For illustration, Iron Mountain Digital has grown its protected and stored data volume under management 600% from 2005 to 2008. This does not include data under management by the company’s 300 channel partners in more than 40 countries worldwide.

“In today’s world of heightened regulatory requirements, the enormous growth of digital data, not to mention economic pressures, is causing organisations of all sizes to look for viable alternatives for managing their digital data,” said Laura Dubois, program director for IDC's storage software practice. “With Iron Mountain Digital’s Storage-as-a-Service model, small and large businesses alike can store, manage and protect their data as a hosted or on demand service – thereby more effectively meeting today’s compliance requirements and ensuring capacity for future growth.”

“Storage-as-a-Service enables us to lower our TCO and provide a higher level of data protection to our employees,” said John Lewis, Director of Information Services, Geokinetics. “With Iron Mountain Digital’s Storage-as-a-Service solution, we are able to offer our workforce a premium service to backup and protect their unstructured data.”

Businesses should view SaaS as more than the warehousing of data or cloud storage. True SaaS reduces the risks, cost and complexity of managing information by providing secure and efficient data capture, protection and storage -- and services that enable organisations to better utilise their stored information.  These value-added services may include discovery, recovery, classification and retention, and destruction.

When choosing a SaaS provider, businesses should consider the following:

  • Trust and Reliability: Investigate the vendor's record of accomplishments. Ask if they can provide customer references with storage environments and restore requirements similar to your own and compatible with your infrastructure. Understand the vendor’s financial strength: you want to ensure they will be in business when you need your data.
  • Security is Key: Consider the type of business you run and your business requirements with regard to security. Ensure appropriate security for the capture, transmission and storage of and access to your data. How and where is the data encrypted? What are the provider’s disaster recovery plans and methods?
  • What Matters Most to Your Business: The type of business often determines the type of data it produces. Consider the types of files you will be storing (databases, multimedia, etc.) and be prepared to discuss your unique needs.
  • Access to Your Data: Understand how easily you can access the data stored – from where and how frequently.  Who has access to your data? What service level agreements does the vendor offer? How will they deliver your data in the event of a major restore and recovery?

Backup, Recovery and Beyond: Remember that SaaS is not just about backing up data and being able to recover it; it is about the overall management of the data. For example, consider the practices the vendor has in place for managing seven-year-old data versus data created today.

“For the same reasons customers have been turning to Iron Mountain for the storage and protection of their physical records, businesses rely on Iron Mountain Digital for the secure, cost-effective storage and access to their digital information,” said John Clancy, president of Iron Mountain Digital. “The next generation of Storage-as-a-Service will focus on further reducing the risks, cost and complexity for our customers, while enhancing the usefulness of the information stored, providing our customers with comprehensive and complementary services at every stage of the information lifecycle.”

About Iron Mountain Digital
Iron Mountain Digital is the world's leading provider of software- and storage-as-a service solutions for backup and archiving. The technology arm of Iron Mountain Incorporated offers a comprehensive suite of data protection, archiving and intellectual property management solutions to thousands of companies around the world, directly and through a worldwide network of channel partners. Iron Mountain Digital is based in Southborough, Mass. with European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

About Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain Incorporated (NYSE:IRM) helps organisations around the world reduce the costs and risks associated with information protection and storage. The company offers comprehensive records management and data protection solutions, along with the expertise and experience to address complex information challenges such as rising storage costs, litigation, regulatory compliance and disaster recovery. Founded in 1951, Iron Mountain is a trusted partner to more than 100,000 corporate clients throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Rim. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ironmountain.co.uk.

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